Xi Su - (Zse Sue) like Zsa Zsa
The Book of Xi Su
By Shane Morgan
Xi Su had wasted the better part of his thirty years of life. He had no family and not much of a life. He had lost his young bride, Ming Lee, and their unborn baby ten years before during the Great Fever Outbreak. He had not looked at a woman since he had met Ming Lee and after her death he decided that he never would. Xi Su had bounced from job to job being a farmer, a miller, a carpenter, and a gem minor. All of which he was not good at nor did he find them fulfilling. Upon leaving his last job as a farm hand in a rice field, he went home and went to straight to bed. The next morning Xi Su decided to take a stroll through the woods to clear his mind and think about what job we would like to do next. About an hour after taking a wrong turn, he came upon an old building. Puzzled he thought himself, “What a strange looking structure.” The building had started to crumble and it looked like the front doors were barely holding it up. Even after perceiving the danger, Xi Su couldn’t control his curiosity. After surveying the entire building, Xi Su found a small opening on the side of the structure and crawled through. He found himself in a large empty room. Scratching his head he surveyed the inside. “Not much to look at. I wonder what this was used for,” he pondered. As he examined the walls he knew there wasn’t much time left before the structure fell in on itself. He took one last look and then headed back to the small opening from which he had entered. As he put his hand on the floor to crawl out, a floorboard kicked up. “Strange,” he thought once again. He pushed on the board again and when it rose he grabbed it and took it from its place. Under the board was darkness. Xi Su could not see how deep it was or what, if anything, was in this space. He would’ve just reached down into the hole had his fear of spiders and snakes had not stopped him. “It’s probably nothing,” he thought to himself. Xi Su then decided that it was time to go back home. He crawled back through the opening and began his trip back home. Xi Su had not gone far when the space in the floor began to consume his thoughts. “Maybe someone had hidden some treasure or money there and had forgotten about it. Maybe there were priceless jewels.” His mind and heart raced at the possibilities. Xi Su knew that he had to go back and find out what was in that hole. Before heading back to the odd-looking structure. Xi Su knew he had to find something that would illuminate the hole in the floor. He sat on a tree stump and thought. After fifteen minutes of thinking he still did not have an answer. He decided that he would think and walk at the same time. Upon reaching the small entry, he still had no clue of how to get light into the hole. He thought to himself, “Surely, any spiders or snakes would have vacated the hole by now.” With this new motivation, Xi Su crawled back inside. He looked at the hole, closed his eyes, and stuck his hand in the hole. At first, he didn’t feel anything and began to get angry at all of the time that he had wasted. As he began to take his hand out, his pinky finger touched something. Xi Su jerked his hand out as fast as he could. Laughing at himself, he put his hand back in the hole and grabbed the mystery item. “Ohhhh!” he whined. “It’s just a book.” Disappointed, Xi Su sat back and pouted. He did not find the treasure that he was looking for. Dejected, he thought, “Well I put all of this work into to it, I’m keeping this book.” He placed the bound side of the book in his mouth and crawled through the opening and returned home.
The next day Xi Su, who still hadn’t made his mind up on what his next job was going to be, sat at his table and ate his breakfast. His new book was lying on the table and Xi Su picked it up and began to read. At first, he was lost. He had never heard these stories before. He found the stories captivating and couldn’t stop reading them. He had often questioned many things in his life: who he was, who was he suppose to be and how he fit into the world around him. These new stories, he felt, gave him answers to those life long questions but most of all the stories gave hope. After a week had passed, Xi Su had finished the book. He felt some new inner emotion that he had never felt before. He couldn’t explain it but he now knew what his next job would be.
Xi Su packed everything he owned into a backpack. He then went to his neighbor, Chaun Net and asked him, “How much will you pay me to buy my house?” Xi Su knew that Chaun Net’s son and daughter-in-law were expecting their first child and Chaun Net’s house was too small for the expanding family. Shocked, his neighbor responded,” If you are serious, I can pay,” Chaun Net paused as if he were counting in his head. “Five hundred dokis,” he answered shyly, knowing it was more than he could afford and way below what it was worth. Xi Su whose mind had wandered off thinking about his stories, snapped back to reality. “Five hundred dokis?” he responded. Chaun Net turned red with embarrassment. “No, no my friend,” Xi Su quickly added. “That is more than enough.” Chaun Net’s face was aglow. He ran into his house. After about five minutes, the four and half members of Chuan Net’s family came out. Xi Su could tell they had all been crying. Chaun Net, with his life savings in his hand, spoke up. “I am sorry, my friend. “We have only 410 dokis and with the baby soon to arrive, we can not afford your house.” Xi Su was silent and thought about the stories he had read. He knew his house was worth twice that amount. “I will take 410 dokis for my house,” Xi Su announced. Chaun Net was both happy and worried. They now had room for their family but no more savings. Chaun Net handed Xi Su the money. Xi Su walked over to the quiet girl in the back and said “For your baby.” He handed her a 50 dokis piece. Xi Su then took step back and said “I wish your family good fortune,” and he turned and left. With his new money, Xi Su headed for the nearest town. Two days later, Xi Su arrived in Jai Pek late in the morning. He bought some food and sat on a barrel to eat. He knew his new job would be to tell the stories in the book, but he did not know how to go about it or how he would be paid. As he ate, he watched the people walking by. He noticed that the next street up seemed to be a very busy street. “That would be a good place for me to tell the stories,” he thought. “But how?” he questioned. Then a thought came to him and he stood up on the barrel that he had been sitting on. “It seems pretty stable,” he told himself. Since the barrel didn’t seem to belong to anyone he decided he would roll the barrel to the next street and if it did belong to someone it didn’t matter because he would return it. So, Xi Su put his plan into action. He rolled the barrel to busy thoroughfare, stood it up right and climbed on top of it. He began to tell the stories that he had read and not long after a crowd had gather around him. For as long as he could remember Xi Su had not enjoyed himself as much as he was at that moment. After about forty-five minutes, some of the town elders came to see what was going on. It didn’t take long for them to realize that he had been telling the forbidden stories from the forbidden book. “Get down from there!” They yelled at him. “Stop telling those stories!” Xi Su was confused. He hopped off his barrel. The elders then told him that he must leave town immediately and not to return. Xi Su tried to ask why but was not given an answer. He hung his head, put on his backpack and left town. While walking, he replayed the event in his head but couldn’t figure out what he had done wrong. He looked back, shrugged his shoulders and kept walking. The next town was a small village called Kish-shee. Xi Su thought that maybe he shouldn’t have started in the larger town and maybe the small village would a better place to start. When he arrived in Kish-shee, he found that there were a lot of people in the village square eating lunch. So, he jumped onto a bench and began to tell them his stories. At first, there was silence but then a murmur began to arise. Soon, a group of men left but that didn’t bother Xi Su; he continued to tell his stories. After a brief time away, the grouped of men returned carrying pitchforks. They were headed right for him. Xi Su didn’t waste any time. He jumped off of his bench and ran out of town. After what seemed like an hour of running, Xi Su stopped to rest. He couldn’t believe what had just occurred. Xi Su was more confused than ever. Why did people not want to hear these stories of hope? “If I can’t tell my stories, what am I going to do?” he ask himself. “Maybe I am not telling them correctly. I am going to have to practice,” he concluded. Xi Su spent the next two weeks reading his book over and over. Even though each time he read the book he felt more purpose in life, there was something else. Something that created a maddening drive in him that he had never before felt. During his final days in seclusion, Xi Su dumped out the contents of backpack. He was running out of money and food. After his dinner, Xi Su slumped up against a rock. As he slept, he dreamed of the odd old building. He once again was crawling through the small hole but this time it wasn’t empty. Someone was standing by the front wall. Xi Su walked toward the figure. The figure spoke and broke the silence. “Xi Su, welcome to my house.” “ Who are you?” questioned Xi Su. Again the figure spoke “I am the one who led you here.” Puzzled Xi Su responded, “I ended up here because I got lost.” The figure laughed. “Xi Su, you have lived near these woods all of your life. How is it that you suddenly became lost?” Xi Su thought for a minute but he had no answer. The figure continued, “Is it because you have been lost your entire life?” Again, Xi Su had no answer. Xi Su then asked his own question. “Is it your book?” “It is my book to give,” answered the figure. “You did not give the book to me. I found the book in that hole.” Xi Su quickly responded, “Xi Su, you were meant to find my truths.” “What? Why me?” Xi Su asked. The figure answered, “Because it is your time.”
Xi Su suddenly awoke. He was stunned. All of his life, like most people from his region, Xi Su had no direction and no hope. Now he had been given both but from whom? Xi Su now knew what was driving him. “These aren’t just stories, these are true events. Everyone shall hear these truths,” he exalted. “It is not right for them to keep these truths from people. Everyone should get to have this hope and I know just where to start.”
Viahew was the provincial capitol and it was home to largest population in the region. Xi Su knew that this was place for him to tell these truths. He took his time after arriving. He studied the city and found a busy area with a large rock that he could stand on and be seen. At noon, on his third day in the city, he climbed onto the rock and began to profess these truths. An extremely large crowd gathered to listen. He spoke for one hour and climbed down. He repeated the process for four days. Xi Su no longer cared about making money he found telling the truths more fulfilling. He noticed that many of the same faces were attending everyday and they brought with them new people. On the fifth day, he once again climbed on his rock. As he told his truths, the Provincial Governor arrived. He screamed at Xi Su to get down. Xi Su climbed down. The Governor grabbed Xi Su’s book and asks “Why are you telling these forbidden stories from this forbidden book?” Xi Su replied, “I am only telling the truths.” “No!” exclaimed the Governor. “These are lies. That is why they are forbidden. You must climb back on your rock and apologize to these people for the lies you have told.” “I am not going to do that,” replied Xi Su in a stern but respectful voice. “You will or I will throw you in prison,” commanded the governor. Xi Su looked at him and held up his wrist to be handcuffed. “I will not.” He said calmly. The Governor was perplexed at this occurrence. He summoned his guard to shackle Xi Su and take him to prison. When Xi Su arrived at the prison he was sat at a table. When the Provincial Governor arrived he told Xi Su, “You have severely broken our laws and you have refused to recant yourself. You have until noon tomorrow to do so publicly or you will face my firing squad.” Xi Su was then taken and put into a tiny cell. He was allowed to keep his sacred book with him. When night came, Xi Su fell asleep hoping he would visit the figure again. Xi Su slept well and again awoke in the morning with the words “It is your time”. Only this time, it was his bride Ming Lee’s voice. Xi Su then thought about her and the future they had planned. “Ming Lee, I don’t know why you were taken from me or why it has been so long since I heard your voice. For the first time, I feel like I have a purpose but yet everyone is trying to take that purpose away from me. How I wish you were here. I have missed you for so long. If it is ‘my time’, then it shall be.” Just then the guards came in and took him from his cell. He was sat at a table once more. In front of him, lamp oil and matches were placed. The Governor soon came in and announced, “Xi Su, to correct your misdeeds you must first burn your book of lies and then get back on your rock and ask for forgiveness from the people for spreading your lies.” Xi Su looked at him and said, “I will not do that.” The Governor’s face turned red as he screamed, “This is your last chance!” Xi Su just stared forward not saying a word” “ Then you’ll die by the firing squad!” the governor yelled.
At noon, Xi Su was marched out into the courtyard and stood in front of a wall. Eleven soldiers then came through a second doorway and lined up shoulder to shoulder facing Xi Su. The Governor, holding a sword and still furious with Xi Su, sternly said, “Xi Su, I am giving you one last chance. Admit to the people your lies and deception and you will live.” Not long ago Xi Su would have questioned why his life had turned out this way but his reading had warned him that things like this might happen if he were to spread the truth. The figure and book had brought him such peace and direction that he was ready to face his fate and answered with an assertive “No.” Xi Su then refused a blindfold and placed his book over his heart and closed his eyes. The sky clouded and turned dark and thunder began to roll. Xi Su then heard the order “READY, AIM” but he remained at peace. The Governor screamed, “FIRE!” It was followed by nothing but clicks. Xi Su opened his eyes to see the eleven soldiers looking at their guns, each other and finally the Governor. The Governor screamed again “FIRE!” At that moment a sunbeam burst through the clouds and fell upon Xi Su. It illuminated his body as if he were a candle. Again the soldiers tried to fire but to no avail. Xi Su closed his eyes again and smiled. He then faded into the sunbeam and his clothes fell to the ground. On the clothes, his book of truths landed right side up with the words “Holy Bible” showing so that everyone could read it. Awe struck, the soldiers dropped their rifles and the Governor dropped his sword. The twelve then ran off to tell others what they had witnessed.